Answers to airgunners’ questions

by B.B. Pelletier

Today, I’m paying off a few debt/promises. First, for Revwarnut, is the story of how I bought and sold an airgun for a profit in five minutes. I did it in front of two witnesses – my wife and my other best friend, Earl McDonald. We were at the big Baltimore gun show that’s held every March, which is one of the finest shows in existence. It’s the only one where I’ve actually seen quarter-million-dollar Colt Walkers laying on tables for sale, along with $20,000 matched 19th century air rifles engraved by Nimschke. I saw a BSA underlever from the 1920s on a table. It was in very good condition, and had been a British club gun with an aftermarket peep sight and club markings on the stock. The price tag said $250, and I knew I could sell it for $300 or more at an airgun show. I dickered with the seller and bought it for $200. Then my wife asked how sure I was that I could really sell it for a profit. I guess that tripped a trigger in me, because when a guy in the next aisle showed an interest, I sold the gun to him for $250. That was $50 made in five minutes. I hadn’t planned on selling it that soon and not for that little money, either, but something triggered a competitive desire in me and I had to see if it was possible.

The next one is for Shorty, who is looking for a deal on an Enfield No. 4 – the British main battle rifle of WWII. I was with my buddy, Earl McDonald (he and my wife are both good luck charms) when he was offered a small gun collection for a very good price. There were three SKS rifles and two No. 4 Enfields in the deal. He gave $50 apiece for the Enfields, each of which had a paper tag tied to their triggerguards. When we got them back to my house, we read the tags. They said those rifles had just completed Factory Thorough Repair, which means a full rebuild. The barrels were like new! Mac gave one of them to me, just because he had made such a good deal. So I got that one for free, but could have gotten it for only $50 for it had I paid for it. It’s one of my favorite military rifles, and I love shooting it because of the low recoil. Shorty, I can’t tell you how to fall into deals like that except for this: if you want to get muddy it’s best to go where there’s mud. In other words, hang around places where guns are. A shooting range is a great place to look for some real deals.

Today’s main topic
I get a lot of questions on this blog and I can tell from them that many of you really want to learn about the principles of gun operation, manufacture and ballistics. Last week, someone complimented my “encyclopedic knowledge” of airguns. Today, I want to give you access to the same encyclopedia. I don’t know that much, but I read about this subject all the time and I retain a lot of what I read. I guess that comes from interest. Matt61, this one’s for you.

It’s all in books – the right books. And most of them aren’t about airguns. They’re mainly about firearms. This is where a large part of my knowledge comes from and where I began learning about guns.

How guns are made
Want to learn how guns are really made? Then learn all about the making of the M1 Carbine – how eight prime contractors and thousands of subcontractors made over 6 million state-of-the-art semiautomatic rifles in four years. Rifles that were so close to the ragged edge of self-destruction that it is a marvel today that any of them survived. They were 20 years ahead of their time in terms of manufacturing technology.

Learn why one company may be able to make something that another cannot. Learn why staying within the specifications doesn’t build rifles that work. Study the lessons of Winchester, who designed the carbine and then was barely able to manufacture it, yet Underwood Typewriter excelled in production from day one. All of this and a lot more is in the two-volume set War Baby, by Larry Ruth.

Learn about the gun factory that failed to ever deliver even one carbine (Irwin Pederson) because of mismanagement. The plant “metallurgist” refused to use his thermocouples and judged the heat treatment of steel based on the color of the steel. But his failure to take into account the changing light conditions in the factory during the day put him off the temperature as much as 75 degrees F in both directions. [There's a direct correlation between this incident and the blind obedience some airgunners have to the accuracy of small pressure gauges, instead of using a chronograph to figure things out scientifically.]

Or, the Rockola plant whose management was so bad the workers were sabotaging their own work. The government had to step in and fire the plant manager before they could get them back on track again.

I’ve been involved in the manufacture of airguns and have had my eyes opened wide. Short of taking a job with Ruger, I doubt you’ll get a better look into the business of making precision guns than by reading this book. Volume one costs $70 from Collector Grade Publications. I couldn’t do my job without it.

Want to learn ballistics?
Then get Frank W. Mann’s classic, The Bullet’s Flight, From Powder to Target. Published in 1909, this book is a report of 35 years of study of the subject of exterior ballistics. It’s not written by a theorist but by a man who built a 100-yard tent-tunnel so he could study the flight of a bullet without the effects of wind. He had to curve it to follow the bullet’s trajectory! A man whose shooting bench weighed over half a ton. A man who convinced Harry Pope, the Stradivarius of barrelmaking, to hand-make barrels that he could destroy in countless experiments that studied caliber, twist rate, bullet deformation, the effect of the barrel crown and what happens if eight pointed screws pierce the last two inches of the barrel and into the bore between the lands so they scrape the sides of the bullet as it passes by.

You’ll find this from used book dealers. An original will cost over $400 and isn’t worth it unless you’re a book collector. But you can find a handsome reprint like my 1997 copy from Palladium Press for under $50 if you search. If you want to know anything about ballistics and why some guns shoot better than others, this is what you need to read.

How far do bullets REALLY travel?
Hatcher’s Notebook will tell you the answer to why WWI German bullets were killing Allied soldiers half a mile farther than our guns could shoot. Major (later Major General) Julian S. Hatcher didn’t take people’s word for anything. He tested all the theories and discovered the truth. Like the truth that the Japanese type 99 rifle was far stronger than the 1903 Springfield, but the M1 Garand was the strongest military rifle ever made.

Hatcher was an NRA adviser after the war and literally wrote the book – the book that you can buy (used) for under $20.

What’s new?
Certainly not the fine adjustable trigger on the Crosman 160 – the rifle people still venerate as the QB 78 and 79. No, that trigger, as fine as it is, was first built in the 1400s. The materials used were animal horn and the weapon was a medieval crossbow. You’ll learn about that and how far a crossbow bolt will shoot in Sir Ralph Payne-Galwey’s 1903 classic book The Crossbow. You’ll learn about the lethal range at which a man could be expected to be hit (220 yards) in the 1400s and the repeating crossbow the Chinese invented.

This book is among the largest and least expensive of those on my list. Twenty dollars can usually procure a Barnes & Noble reprint, though an original might go for several hundred. You’ll find this one on the used book dealer websites, also. Oh, and for you DIYers, there are complete and detailed plans for building a crossbow.

How to shoot
I was taught gun safety by the NRA, but I really learned to shoot from Elmer Keith. In his book Sixguns, I learned that short-barreled revolvers are just as accurate as those with longer barrels. I proved that by hitting a football-sized dirt clod six times out of six from 80 yards using a snubnosed .38 Special Colt Agent. I knew I could do it because ten years before in California I had hit a rock the size of a car wheel at 300 yards with a cap-and-ball Colt Army. Keith told me how to do it, and he’ll tell you if you give him half a chance. The book is out of print but can be bought used for $40 or less if you shop.

But what about airguns?
I love it when someone asks me a question like that after I’ve just spent a great deal of time telling them exactly what they want to know. I think of Mr. Miaggi, who taught the Karate Kid to defend himself in just a few days by having him wax his cars, sand his deck and paint his fence. “Wax on, wax off!”

For those who just don’t get it unless it’s spelled out, here you go – the one airgun book I’d recommend above all others W.H.B. Smith’s Standard Encyclopedia of Gas, Air and Spring Guns of the World. It’s out of print, out of date and full of errors, yet this is the best book I know of on the entire subject of airgunning.

79 thoughts on “Answers to airgunners’ questions

  1. BB,Thank you for this blog.It is great news when someone with all your gun/airgun experience points us in the direction that will help us grow…I wish I had a couple of these reprints to go with this coffee…Frankb


  2. Hi BB,

    I am Yash from Delhi and I am a regular visitor to you blog. Let me also complement you on the great knowledge you have on the subject. I have learnt a lot from this blog in recent past. I have a Beeman P17 that is some 100 pellets old. However, now it is not building pressure and doesn’t throw the pellets out. Can you tell me what might be wrong?



  3. Thanks for the link BB. It indeed gave me a few ideas. I think its the piston seal which is causing it. Pellgunoil is not readily available in India so would a regular gun oil do? I have been using this gun oil in my springers successfully. I would open up the piston later this week to see if the piston O ring is nicked?

    Thanks again! You rock!


  4. When you refer to “Rifles that were so close to the ragged edge of self-destruction that it is a marvel today that any of them survived”, are you speaking of how they were manufactured? It was one part that I didn’t understand.
    I’ve heard that the japanese battle rifle was much stronger than we can it credit for, due to it’s supposed crude manufacture.
    Also, I’d like to mention one other book that about shooting. Ed McGivern’s Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting. I was lucky enough to pick one up years ago.

    Al in CT


  5. About a month ago I bought a new M1 carbine from Auto Ordnance. It looks beautiful, feels nice, and shoots great. I like it more than my AR-15. I just wish that it had as many accessory offerings for it as the AR.


  6. B.B.,

    Thanks for the insight into your dedication and commitment to learning all there is to know about firearms and airguns. You appear to read about your “passion” as much as experience it first hand. To allow us mere mortals to benefit from your depth and breadth of knowledge is very special. Your article this morning reminded me of the quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.”

    kevin


  7. Mornin’ B.B.,
    Excellent Write up. I must say, it sounds like you really thought this one through. I have a question, that does not pertain to firearms, so i hope you can help me. I am looking to get a coyote rifle, and i have 2 rifles in mund, but dont know which one to get. I can get either My uncles used Rem. 700 in .22-250, or a Brand new NEF single shot in .223. I will hunt in almost all conditions, from woods, to wide open desert(when i visit my uncle in NM.). So what would you get?
    Thanks,
    Brody
    p.s.
    There about the same price.


  8. BB, very much enjoyed your blog today! I’ll add another book to your list, “Experiments Of A Handgunner ” by Walter Roper. This book has taught me how to shoot air pistols. There is a chapter in this book that is devoted to both air rifles and pistols. Robert


  9. Al in CT,

    No I meant that the M1 carbine is so close to self-destruction when it fires that it’s wonder more did not blow up. Several did, you know.

    That rifle operates at 40,000 psi and is on the ragged edge of safe, because the designers removed as much metal as possible to make it lightweight. It’s not a gun you can rebuild countless times – the receiver actually has a shot limit.

    I love the carbine and respect the development project that made it, but a Ruger Mini 14 is far safer.

    B.B.


  10. Morning B.B. Been on vacation with the children–wonderful time. Took awhile to “Catch Up” with you guys. Wayne: rent to try and buy sign me up for a Talon SS and an Arm Arms 400. Brody, I’d try the 22-250, but the NEC’s, was looking at one in Bass Pro 2days ago, in .223, and almost left with it–how about both? B.B. will you be in Fredrick? I was signing on as Bruce, but there will be to many of us so I’ll be using Mr B from now on.


  11. Thanks Mr B,
    I dont think both is an option. I am trying to find and compare ballistics, so i know downrange energy comparisons, between the .22-250, and the .223. I know the 250, will carry energy furthger, but will it be more accurate at longer ranges. And the .223 is so much cheaper to shoot. I wish there was an easy alternative, like some middle ground.
    Thanks,
    Brody


  12. Mr. B.,

    I want to come to Fredrick, but it’s such a long drive from Texas. I will be going to Roanoke one month later, so it’s hard to justify a second expensive trip like that.

    B.B.


  13. Hi Brody: try a google on both. The 22-250 has a much flater trajectory which will make range estimating alot less of a factor in the longer shots. Forgot to ask, will you be doing calling for them or more of a still hunting thing?


  14. Brody,

    A .223 is not known as an especially accurate round. Yes they will shoot a minute of angle, but the .22-250 will do SO much better than that. Mine shot a quarter-minute and it was a used rifle.

    The .223 has a short neck, which prevents it from being as accurate as the other .22 centerfires. The .222 Remington is the best of all, but there are few who use it anymore.

    If you will reload, get a .22-250. If you buy your ammo go with the .223.

    B.B.





  15. Al in CT,

    Yes, it’s easy to confuse the Garand and carbine in writing.

    As for the 7.7 Jap Arisaka, it was tested to the limit by the NRA and they discovered that it was about twice as strong as the 1903 Springfield. I hated to read that, because I had to change my thinking about the Japanese rifles

    But P.O. Ackley actually shot a .30-06 cartridge in a 6.5mm Jap Arisaka. So the .306 bullet had to be swaged dopwn to .264 in the barrel. And the rifle handled it without a problem.

    As for Ed McGivern’s book, it is a favorite of mine, but I don’t know that it teaches a lot about the design of guns. I thought about including it, but decided that it doesn’t deal with manufacture or operation to the same degree that the other books do.

    I also omitted The Trapdoor Springfield, by Waite and Ernst, because, though it does deal with manufacture, the gun it focuses on was already obsolete when they were developing it. They knew there was superior technology around, but they thought they could convert the 1 million muzzleloading rifles in stores after the Civil War. As things turned out, that didn’t happen and the Trapdoor was made of mostly new parts. The book and story are fascinating, but the lessons are not as appropriate as some of the books I picked.

    B.B.


  16. Mr. B

    Are you wanting .177 or .22 cal?

    I have a slightly used Air Arms 400 .22 coming in later this week…do you have a pump or scuba tank set up yet? I guess I should have a pump that people can rent too.

    I haven't tried the Talon yet, but I have a Condor in .22 with scope and fill adapter on order, to be here on Friday or Monday..I could order a Talon and send it to you first…

    Bill and I are working on a deal also, (have to win that bet and save my HW-30)….We haven't worked out the pricing yet…help us out people..What percent of the cost of a rifle is it worth to rent it for a week…assuming you don't scratch it or the like?….

    Mr. B, my email is: wayne.burns@naturalyards.com if you want to talk off the blog and get my phone number..

    This is dangerous, reading here…now I'm thinking of looking for a .222 Remington…. I have such fond memories when I get out my dad's Remington semi-auto .22 long rifle..it's 4 years older than me…my mom bought for my dad right after they were married..With dad passed, it's my favorite way to spend time with him still…

    But, I always wanted to hunt deer, so something with more wacko is in order..but on the lightest side possible..

    Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range & Rentals


  17. cowboy dad here.
    Funny how memories flood back.
    When I graduated from high school my grad present from my father was a Remington 700 Custom in .222 with a bull barrel and a high end Weaver scope (at least it was high end then…this would be 1972).
    Did a lot of shooting with that gun but when I was about 25 other things held my interest and the gun went in some trade for who knows what.
    Anyways, dad died a couple of years back and I think often of that rifle and the times we spent together shooting at just about anything…as long as it was a minimum 100yds away.
    Getting rid of that rifle is one of my few regrets.


  18. I just got the P17 on Saturday and returned it on Monday. I had the same problem. The first 50-100 shots were fine, then I noticed that every 5th or 6th shot wasn’t coming out with much velocity. In fact some of the pellets were bouncing off the cardboard I was shooting at. Then for awhile the gun wouldn’t shoot at all. I eventually got it to shoot by cocking only with the safety off. But even then there was a very noticeable loss in velocity. I read the blog and all 160 comments and found that this seemed to be a common problem with this gun. But being as I only had the gun two days I figured I should just return it rather than tinker with it and then not be able to return it at all.

    That being I said I really do like everything about the gun. It’s to bad it has these problems. I’m thinking about switching to the Crossman 1377. I’ve read that entire blog and 260 comments as well and realize this gun is far from perfect also. But it’s problems seem to be more cosmetic than functional and there seems to be a wealth of aftermarket upgrades and information available for this gun.

    If I had to chose between the two guns, assuming both operated flawlessly, I’d pick the P17 everytime. So my question is, do they make a quality P17? Is mine part of a bad batch? I don’t feel I should have to tinker with a brand new gun just to make it work. I know pyramid will work with me on finding a good P17, I just wonder if it exsists? Or, should I just go with the 1377 and begrudgingly pump it a few more times and be happy it works?

    Any opinions would be appreciated.

    Aaron in MI


  19. Wayne,

    YES, you need a compressor! Get a 4,500 psi compressor. They aren’t that much more than a 3,000 psi one when you get one that’s rated for scuba tanks. About $3,000. Eric Henderson at Big Bore Airguns can help you, as can Van Jacobi at Airhog.

    I took 13 Roe deer in Germany – eight of them with a .222 Rem. The best one was shot at 225 yards (measured on a map) .

    B.B.


  20. Aaron,

    I hear enough stories like yours and Yash’s that I think the factory is not too careful when they assemble the pistol. Mine has been working perfectly for many years, though I don’t shoot it that much.

    I will soon be testing a new 1377, so you and I will be sharing the same experiences.

    B.B.


  21. Thanks Guys,
    I figured the .22-250 would be better. I will call in coyotes. I want to reload, but thats extra expense. I will probably start off buying, then i will later definately go to reloading, because it is so much cheaper, and more consistent.
    Thanks again,
    Brody


  22. Yeah, I think I’ll get the 1377 and just shoot the hell out of it for awhile and see what I think. In the back of my mind I’m thinking I’ll start on making my own custom grips at some point. That will be interesting!! I’ve done some wood work before but nothing like this!! At least they will be one of a kind. I think I’ll shoot with the open sights for awhile to get a feel for it but eventually I’ll probably go with a bug buster scope. Is the crossman mount for this gun any good? It’s only ten bucks but if it doesn’t work I think I’d rather go with the scopeable aftermarket steel breach for $30.

    I’m probably getting ahead of my self. Like I said, I need to just get the gun and shoot it for awhile and see what I think.

    When you say new 1377 do you mean new to you, or new to the market?

    Thanks,

    Aaron in MI


  23. Aw. I thought I was going to get a link or a connection to someone selling the No.4.

    The latest I’ve found is a very good No.4 at a $180 buy-it-now price. Other than that, I browse Big 5′s weekly ads for sales (they use to go for $100 a piece back in 2006) and check prices at gun stores. Still looking!


  24. Brody,

    If you can get the used Remington 700 for free or cheap, that’s the way to go. What you save will fund the ammo pile for a while.

    How did your new camera work out?

    Derrick


  25. Yash,

    The P17 shouldn’t take more than half-hour to fix if it’s the piston o-ring. Open the gun like you’re going to cock it. With it open, locate the small setscrew holding the pivot pin at the front of the piston. Remove the setscrew–you will need either a 2mm or a 2.5mm allen wrench, I don’t remember which one, and then drive the pivot pin out. As I recall, the gun must be open to reach that setscrew. The piston will then pull right out. Clean all the foamy, greasy mess out of the gun from the factory. Use a very small amount of non-detergent oil on the o-ring and reinstall in reverse order.

    It should work fine.

    Derrick



  26. B.B.

    I was thinking of a hand pump to mail easy, with PCP rifles…

    I just made a deal with the scuba store to lease me 4 large 4,500 # tanks…I’ll keep two at the scuba store, so they can keep them filled for me, and two at the range…all for $150 per month, and they fill them for that too!…It seems like a good deal to me..I’ll put that $5,000 into rifles instead, PA should be happier too….the maint. on the compressors scares me too…

    So the model I’m looking for is the Remington 700 .222 right? How much should a nice one cost? and where to look…..how to know if it’s a good one or a lemon?

    Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range


  27. How about a discussion on the AESTHETICS of airgun design. I don’t mean design from an engineering standpoint but from a ‘designers’ standpoint.

    Some airguns are beautiful works of art. Others are impressive in their stressing of function over form. Yet others are ‘copy cats’ or ‘clones’ of their firearm counter parts (usually pistols). And yes, some are even arguably, well, ugly. But of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Nevertheless someone ‘designed’ every airgun whether they had any interest in the aesthetics or not; whether or not they had a degree in art or industrial design; just as designers (or at least ‘design’) are involved in automobiles, houses and even appliances.

    I believe airguns including pistols are unique from firearms and some should be lauded for their unique and often striking designs.

    Some of the designs I like in current production include the Crosman 2240. It’s unique, balances form and function and doesn’t ‘pretend’ to be a ‘real’ gun.

    Some of the stocks I see on European rifles are evocative. That’s not to say I necessary like them myself. But I recognize them as evocative.

    What are your favorites? What designs do you not like?


  28. Aaron,

    What I mean about new is I am testing the model that’s currently being sold. The 1377 is a very old design.

    The Crosman intermount will work, but a steel breech will be stronger and keep the scope or dot sight from moving better..

    A Bug Buster scope is going to make you hold the gun within 3 inches of your eye. You need a pistol scope or better, a dot sight.

    B.B.


  29. Shorty,

    A very good Enfield for $180 is a good price. The problem is what is very good? Enfields are painted, so the finish usually makes them look good, at best.

    I look at the bore, and the bolt mechanism. If they are okay, the gun is probably a good one.

    Military Gun Supply here in Ft. Worth sells Mark IIIs for $150-200, but they seldom get a No. 4 in.

    B.B.





  30. Thanks BB! I’ll lay off the bug buster. I’m definately looking forward to the blog on the 1377. I’ll let you know how mine is working out for me.

    Aaron


  31. Asthetics,

    I like the looks of the TX 200 and I LOVE the Queen B I showed you. In firearms my favorites are a Model 38 Swedish Mauser and the M1 Carbine.

    But of all the guns ever made, my most favorite look is the Remington Rolling Block. I don’t own one and may never get one, but something about that rifle gives me shivers. I do own an original Trapdoor Springfield that I think is pretty good-feeling when held, but perhaps not beautiful to look at.

    A fine Tyrolean zimmerstutzen also turns me on, as does a well-made Kentucky rifle.

    My German-made .270 Weatherby Mark V was gorgeous, as was a Sako Mannlicher Vixen I had in .222 Remington. And there is something about a 1903 Springfield that makes me do a double-take.

    In handguns it’s the Colt SAA, hands-down. The Luger is second and the 1911 is a distant third – for looks. For shooting, it’s the SAA, the 1911 and the Luger.

    B.B.




  32. B.B.

    So, this is what you had up your sleeve. Thanks. I hardly know where to start. Yes, books are my means for catching up on the decades of shooting experience I have missed. I noticed that even on Amazon which has some great deals in used books, the prices are not any better than what’s quoted. There is another way, though, that these books can all be retrieved for free. Have your nearest library order them through interlibrary loan. For once, I can speak with authority on something–I’m a librarian. I think your local public library can order books for free. If not, if there’s a college library nearby, you can generally sign up for a free card, and they will definitely order books for you. That’s how I read The Bullet’s Flight From Powder to Target. The amount of reading that I’ve accomplished with this method would have literally cost a fortune to buy.

    I’ll have a look at all these books, but even the descriptions raise interesting questions. Primarily, B.B., I’m amazed at your positive assessment of the M1 carbine. While it has some supporters online, the internet wisdom is that this is an inferior weapon that is underpowered, of unimpressive accuracy (3-4 MOA), and dubious reliability. Apparently, it had problems in the cold weather of the Korean War. Most consider it a poor substitute for the M-16 which I know you’re no fan of. What’s the story here?

    I didn’t know that Elmer Keith’s skills were transferable. A car wheel sized target at 300 yards is comparable to his feat of shooting an elk at 400 yards.

    I’ve always thought that the medievals could do some amazing things with archery but 220 yards for a crossbow shot? I’ve heard that top modern archers consider 80 yards as the limit for a man-sized target and the crossbow was considered inaccurate compared to a longbow. Something is strange here.

    I had not thought much about manufacturing processes for guns, but I suppose that is the next step after learning about a gun’s function which does interest me. I’m quite taken with the 1911 design which Sam described yesterday which depends on split-second timing which can be made simple enough to endure takedown and disassembly by the likes of me. I begin to see the genius of John Browning. And I’ve heard that, similarly, the genius of John Garand including designing machinery to produce his ideas which no one thought were possible. Thanks.

    Matt61


  33. B.B.

    I’m still turning over the idea of epoxy for the front sight of my B30 because I’m clinging to the notion of fully adjustable front and rear sights which were part of the original deal. If one were to use 5 minute epoxy, can it be reversed? Would this be done by something called “release agent”? I like to think of this as some chemical that dissolves the epoxy away to nothing. I would feel better about the epoxy if that was the case.

    Matt61


  34. Brody,

    I read somewhere, probably on this blog, that a 22-250 will wear out your barrel faster than a .223.

    To firearms enthusiasts, a question on reloading math. I was looking at the Midway USA catalogue, and it looked like they were selling 30-.06 brass for about 30 cents each and 168 grain bullets for about the same. The good quality stuff is more. Even if the powder and primer cost nothing that still seems to be in the ballpark of factory ammo. How can reloading be so much cheaper?

    Matt61


  35. Matt61,

    The carbine is certainly a poor substitute for a rifle – because it wasn’t designed to be one! It was designed to replace the .45 pistol and the submachine gun – something it did rather well. The problem was, it is such a handy weapon that soldiers relied on it to do ever-larger jobs until they realized it couldn’t do them. No it isn’t that accurate, but it can still hit a man at 300 yards, which was the requirement.

    Interesting fact – the carbine was the Army’s testbed for the 5.7 Johnson cartridge – an M1 carbine round necked down to .22 caliber. The Army loved the IDEA of such a handy gun, but they wanted more power, so Remington blew out the shoulder on their .222 cartridge and gave the Army the .222 Remington Magnum. They (the Army) then converted that into the .223, which was made to operate in a small Armalite version of the .308 AR-10 They called the new gun the AR-15, but you and I know it as the M16. The M1 Carbine was its grandfather – and I still don’t like it as a main battle rifle.

    B.B.



  36. Matt61,

    I haven’t bought a new .30-06 cartridge case in 30 years. I pick them up at the range. I have close to a thousand, which is all I need.

    By shopping the sales, I can reload .30-06 for 16-18 cents a round. If I were to cast bullets for them I could drop that to about 5-7 cents.

    I shoot .45 ACP for about a 8 cents a shot, and that’s with buying lead bullets. When I start casting that will go down to 4 cents or less – depending on how many primers I buy at one time.

    B.B.


  37. B.B.

    Your not counting your time in those reloading costs, are you..If your not into that hobby, and your time is worth something to you…can you still get quality ammo from the factory, at a reasonable cost?…

    I looked at the reviews on the rem 700 .222…..a lot of people like it but, a few had a problem with the gun firing when it was put on safety or after loading and closing the breech..a major concern, I would think…any one else hear of that?

    Now that you’ve got me thinking of a hunting rifle too, I’ll ask questions in this area as well, you’ll get no peace now….

    I’m not getting into long range target shooting.. I just want to kill a deer once a year to eat.. what do you recommend for low cost, safe, accurate enough, and maybe able to hold or gain in value, since I won’t be using it that much……don’t forget I like light weight rifles when possible….

    Bill recommends the savage .22-250 for a new gun..anyone else like that one?

    Wayne
    Ashland Air Rifle Range


  38. Wayne,

    I like the Savage as well. It has that Accu-Trigger that works very well.

    I must say, though that the choice of caliber for a deer rifle seems small. Yes, a .222 will do the job, but I would use a larger caliber myself. If the range to the animal were under 200 yards, on average, I would use an open-sighted 6.5 Swede Mauser. For an American equivalent, try a .257 Roberts. It can take deer out to long-range.

    B.B.


  39. Hey B.B.,
    Do you mind if i link to your blog in my website? I have a bunch of really nice Airgun websites there, and i figured your blog would round out my collection. lol.
    Thanks,
    Brody



  40. B.B.

    I would like to think that I could be at 100 yards or less, around here, the deer are everywhere and very plentiful…they’re all over our property, but I’d be going into the woods..one of our members, Josh is an excellent hunter, and he said he would take me hunting..

    What about a 5 shot semi-auto, so I can get a second shot off quick..

    Wayne


  41. Matt61,

    I always figured that the brass can be re-used so many times that it becomes an insignificant cost component.

    You're absolutely correct about the bullet costs lately. Lead costs have drastically increased.
    And man, the high-end jacketed hollowpoints have been-and will continue-to cost a small fortune.

    I always assumed that those are expensive bullets were going to a shooter building a custom round for a specific task. And the cost of that round just pales in comparison to cost of a week off work, hiring a guide, and buying a float plane ride to get to that spot for THE shot…

    The real benefit in reloading for me is/was the ability to tailor a loaded round to a given pistol or rifle. Want a light practice load for the .40 S&W? Done. Want a semi-wadcutter to punch clean holes at 50 yards with a semi-auto .38 wad-gun? No problem. When I quit shooting seriously years ago, I had a couple 5 gallon buckets full of .45 ACP brass. So the brass is really insignificant in the cost of the ammo. It's like factoring in the cost of the target into your shooting.

    So cool that you got a .45!

    What's your current favorite in your shooting collection?

    Derrick


  42. B.B.

    That’s an interesting history of the M1 carbine; it sounds like its success was almost its undoing. So is it the handiness that you find so appealing? For this role, what do you think about the Mini-14? I understand that this rifle more or less duplicates the Garand action, so it has the stone-cold reliability. They also improved the accuracy of recent versions and have even produced a target version that is sub-MOA. This would seem to be the ideal carbine on paper.

    Okay, you’ve got me with the reloading. The best I can do is Greek surplus 30-.06 ammo from the CMP that is 30 cents a round (although the discussion forums say that it has almost match accuracy) and 30 cents for Magtech .45 ammo from Brazil. Your numbers do help to explain how the Clint Eastwood gunfighters of history managed to keep themselves supplied. If I with all the benefits of 21st century manufacturing am pressed, how did these subsistence-level characters get enough ammo to build up their skills–if they were really that good? I guess they made most of their ammunition.

    My B30 has the front sight sliding on its rail even after I tightened the Phillips locking screw to maximum. You suggested using 5 minute epoxy to secure it, and I was wondering if there’s a release agent to remove the epoxy later.

    Matt61


  43. BB

    I bought a Daisy Model 98 Eagle a week or so ago and it only shoots about 15-20 feet if you hold it parallel to the ground. Does this gun have a leather piston seal? If it does do you think that it needs oiled or repaired?


  44. Wayne,

    I can certainly vouch for the Savage as a super-accurate, quality rifle. And that Accutrigger feels like a match trigger. But the model 10FP that I bought is barrel-heavy like a target rifle. So, if you’re doing the kind of hunting where you have to swing the rifle, this is not the one. The Savage site has a big selection of hunting rifles that have the same action and trigger as the police and target rifles.

    B.B. would know for sure, but my sense is that the field of sporting autoloaders is not that large. There’s one called the BAR by Browning (no relation to the military weapon) that has been around for awhile, but I couldn’t speak to its quality. It seems like all of the attention in autoloading technology is in the field of military rifles. They are making an AR-15 style rifle that fires a new caliber called the 6.5mm Grendel which I think is comparable to the .270 which is a legitimate deer round, but these new rifles cost a fortune. I know that an oversized bolt handle like the kind on my police rifle is supposed to help with a fast second shot.

    Derrick, that’s a very good point about reusing brass that I had not thought of, but it does raise another point. I thought that there was a limit to the number of times you could reuse brass–like 4 before it became too weak to use safely. Anyway, there must be some kind of limit, and if so, then that seems to pose a real problem for picking up used brass at the range since you don’t know how many times it has been used. Similarly, it seems like it’s very difficult to tell exactly the right caliber used. Maybe the precision equipment of a reloader can tell. But it seems like you run the risk for a brass case that is not exactly right or overused and then you are asking for a wrecked gun or some kind of serious injury.

    My favorite in my gun collection? Now that is a tough one. To an extent, I have designed the collection to do what mathematicians call spanning the space which means using the fewest number of parts to do a certain task. In other words, my gun collection is designed to allow the maximum number of types of shooting, so I like them because of their differences. But I would say that the favorite is still the IZH 61. It is super-accurate at the distances I shoot at most of the time, the trigger is a dream, and it looks cool (to me).

    Matt61


  45. Matt,
    There are alot of nice rifles out there and if you are in the right place at the right time you can pick up a deal. I happen to be a hugh fan of the older Remington 700 action I also like the pre 64 Winchesters but cant afford them anymore. If you need one now and are looking for a good deal you cant beat the Savage with Accutrigger. As far as caliber goes I favor the .243 for a do everything load. With the heavy bullets it can drop deer without a problem and shoot coyotes at long range with mid weights and is also very accurate with light 55-62 gr bullets for varmint shooting. Its biggest down side is if you are an avid varmint shooter it can be tough on barrel throats. It will heat the barrel faster than many of the .22s and if you dont let it cool it will eat barrels. As far as Remington 700s discharging unexpectedly goes this will only happen in 2 situations that I am aware of. The first is if the person adjusting the trigger ignores the proper safety warnings and tries to adjust a great field trig that is not meant to go below 40 oz down to 16 oz. If you want that level of adjustment get a drop in Jewel trigger avail everywhere for $100. The second is over oiling with the wrong stuff and the trigger unit gets gummed up to the point that the trigger cant reset. A shot of cleaner/degreaser once a year will prevent this. I own 4 700s 2 BDLs and 2 ADLs. .222, .243, .308 and .300WM. All of them are the older guns with the jeweled bolts all have sporter weight barrels and all shoot less than MOA. The .222 and the 300WM will go .5 MOA. This doesnt mean they do this with hunting ammo but with handloaded MatchKing bullets.

    Sam




  46. Matt61,

    Okay, there is no release agent I would trust anywhere near the gun. Don’t know what it would do to the finish.

    BTW, the M1 carbine bolt and trigger are very close copies of the Garand – as much as the Mini 14. That was one of the original specifications.

    B.B.



  47. Sam,

    Wow, thanks, great info..the people who were very happy with the rem 700 had the older ones…and I bet your right about tinkering with the trigger..and some of the older 700s seem to be in my price range…

    The savage sounds great too, or maybe a.257 Roberts…. or .300 WSM…

    It’s a good thing it’s a while to hunting season…I’ll need time to shop this one…keep the suggestions coming please..

    Ok…B.B. I’ll practice and make the first shot count..that is the second time I heard that in 10 mins….must be an omen..

    Wayne


  48. Matt61,

    Go with a 5 minute-type clear epoxy. Devcon brand, if you can find it. Whatever, if you can’t. It’ll come off later with a good directed smack from a light weight hammer. You’re looking at so little glue surface area, permanence won’t be a problem. I routinely have to glue things together w/ epoxies due to loose tolerance fits and I’ve never had anything that I couldn’t undo later. The Devcon and most other non-metal filled epoxies come off polished metal surfaces easily. You’re far more likely to have to re-glue the sight next year because the 2-way snap of the recoil broke your glue bond.

    Ah, the great brass re-use issue. The gun’s chamber and boltface hold the cartridge pressure, not the brass case. (Yes, there are exceptions here. I’m writing in generalities) The brass case just holds everything together, nice and tidy. If you are handloading to the maximum possible pressure level to develop the biggest, baddest, fastest magnum roaring monster, then, yes, that brass case does have a lifespan. If you’re reloading general purpose target range type ammo, you can typically load each case dozens of times safely. You get rid of them when the case mouth has a split, or the primers don’t go in snugly, or the case had to be trimmed for overall length. Or you just don’t like the way it looks. As a general rule, you can tell when a case is done. If it looks shiny and new when you pick it up at the range, it’s good. As to the wrong size? The cases are headstamped for caliber identification so I think getting the wrong size is a non-issue. Once you’ve done some basic reloading, this will all make far more sense than it does right now. Start with all new brass or “once-fired” brass and go from there. And better still, start with a pistol cartridge like the .45 ACP before you go to sizing longer rifle brass. It’s not difficult. A good progressive loading machine can let you kick out 200+ rounds in an hour at a leisurly pace.

    Derrick


  49. I meant to say that you get rid of used brass after it’s been trimmed for overall length more than a few times.

    How many times? Judgement. As in yours.

    Cheers!

    Derrick


  50. Wayne,
    My recommendation is to look at a Marlin 336C in .30-30. If you are going to hunt in the woods mostly and keep the shots short, it should be easy to carry. More than adequate for deer, although there are some that would disagree.

    The .243 is great, but you will be reluctant to carry it in company when you find out what some whack jobs think about it.

    The savage 1x/11x’s are really nice for a bolt action: almost no one will fault you for using one in .270, .308, or .30-06 for deer.


  51. The .30-.30 is acknowledged to have taken more deer in North America than all the others combined in the last century. The Marlin is a great rifle, and I actually just gave one to my dad as a birthday present, (he’s always wanted one, and never would spend the money on himself!) We are breaking it in gently, but it shoots great so far.

    The Savages are great rifles, also, as I told Wayne earlier, in
    .243 or .270 or .308.

    BUT…there never will be much collectibility for them in my mind. Great rifles, but more tools than works of art.

    The one rifle no one has mentioned is the new Winchester Model 70. In the sporter version, with a nice wood stock, and in .270 WSM, it should make an outstanding deer rifle, and be enough for elk as well. The early reports are all good, and the trigger has been significantly improved by all accounts, with the old controlled feed returned, this should be a great shooter AND have some collectible value in the first years models.

    Just my .02 cents!!!

    Bill


  52. Derrick,

    Thanks, that makes a lot of sense about the epoxy. I had to apply the blue loctite several times to secure a trigger guard screw correctly.

    You make a heck of an argument for reloading. I will consider it.

    Bill, I’ve heard that they are bringing back the famous pre-64 Winchester 70 but it costs a bundle so it had better be collectible.

    Matt61



  53. Everybody

    Thanks for the info….So much to consider….I’m sooooo glad I’m not going into this blind…It’s nice to have friends online…thanks a lot…

    Wayne


  54. Matt,

    The Winchester Model 70 will sell for less than $1200, that seems pretty reasonable in light of the improvements and the cost of everything associated with shooting. ie. $2500 custom airguns, $1000 off the shelf airguns, $2500 AR15′s, etc.

    Bill




  55. hey B.B., thanx for the great blog, and willingness to not only share your knowledge, but to take the time to do it continuously.
    Am wondering what your feelings are on the GS1000 in .22 caliber, for both plinking and small game hunting?
    As I understand it, not a bad rifle, but one that appears to be discontinued by Beeman, any idea why?
    Is/was there inherent problems that you’re aware of?
    The owner’s manual isn’t too comprehensive,could you please advise how to adjust the trigger?
    The one I have is virtually new, about 200 shots through it, but the trigger is annoyingly long and ‘scratchy’ for a two stage.
    And finally (oh good he says!) from what I can tell, this rifle would be described as a ‘medium’ strength springer, what do you suggest as a good scope set up, i’m hoping to pursue the ever popular and outright dangerous ruffed grouse?
    thanx again for any info you can provide

    Rod


  56. Rod,

    I have no idea why Beeman discontinued the GS 1000. Things change every day, these days, and I long for the good old days when a product was around for years and years.

    Looking at your rifle, I’m thinking the GRT-III trigger might fit. That’s from Charlie Da Tuna. That would give you a less scratchy (creepy) trigger pull, though it would be just as long.

    Any Leapers or Centerpoint 3-9 scope would be well-suited to your rife, but keep the objective lens at 32mm, so you can use the rings you already have.

    B.B.




  57. BB and Derrick,

    Thanks for the tips on the P17. It did the trick! I opened it up and saw that the piston O ring was nicked and the innards were full of grease. I turned the O ring around so the nick was now stuck to the piston body. I cleaned the stuff and in absence of pellgunoil, coated the piston with a light layer of 2T engine oil used in motorbikes. Now, it shoots even better than new! As i said before, you guys rock!


  58. Being stuck out here in Hawaii, just sending a rifle in for warranty work costs 100.00, I have a career 9mm ultra (shinsung) and have had almost no luck finding any tech data or parts lists, what gives? It’s not like we get free shipping out here, nor do I like spending a month or more getting work done, nor is it much help having to send my rifle to Ohio for maintenance. I’d rather void the warranty and do all the work myself. Any suggestions? Stranded at the ends of the country.


  59. xray3delta,

    You are paying the “paradise tax,” I believe.

    You can learn to work on your own rifle, though there is very little written about the Ultra. The Ultra is not a rifle that has a lot of popular support, because of the pellet limitations.

    Since you didn’t mention what is wrong with your airgun, if anything, it’s hard for me to tell you what to do about it.

    Is it broken, or are you simply thinking about the future?

    B.B.


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